A New York townhouse is in contract to be sold to the nation of Qatar for $US100 million, which, when completed, would make it the most expensive townhouse ever sold in the city.
We caught up with Tal Alexander, half of the 20-something sibling duo who represented Qatar in the sale, to find out how the record deal went down.
The story dates back to last year’s United Nations Week, in late October, when representatives from Qatar reached out to Alexander, 27, and his brother Oren, 26, of Douglas Elliman’s Alexander Team. Despite their age, the pair had made waves for the sale of the most expensive mansion in Miami, and had a number of other big-time deals under their belts.
Qatar had actively been searching for a location for their New York consulate for at least a year by the time they reached out to the Alexanders.
“I think they understood from day one that we were able to show them things they hadn’t seen before,” Tal Alexander told Business Insider. “We worked for our reputation of being able to make things happen. We have relationships with all the top brokers and focused on showing them off-the-market properties. They had been working with other brokers and they’d seen everything on the market, basically.”
While identifying a suitable building for a consulate was a new experience, Alexander said he was used to dealing with similarly demanding clients.
Qatar had some particular requirements for a consulate building: The nations’ Consul General Ahmed Yousef Al-Rumaihi sought a property that had substantial width — hard to come by in a city of slim townhouses — and a good set-up for security. Alexander reached out to the Corcoran Group’s Carrie Chiang, who he had worked with in the past.
As Chiang explained to The Real Deal, “I contacted my long-term clients, the Wildenstein family, to explore any possible interest in selling their mansion although the property was not on the market … After reviewing the buyer’s request, my client agreed to the sale and the deal was consummated very quickly.”
The five-story Wildenstein Building, formerly an art gallery at 19 E. 64th St., has a steel frame and reinforced floors built to accommodate the weight of vaults. It is ready for the consulate to open this spring, shortly after the deal is expected to close in April.
“They jumped on it,” Alexander said, “We got them to the right product in the right timing.”
The sale will result in a loss of nearly $US400,000 in annual taxes to New York City because foreign governments don’t pay real estate taxes, the Olshan Luxury Market Report noted this week. Nonetheless, closing the record deal represented months of work for the Alexanders.
“It was very exciting, from the showings to being able to get the deal done,” Alexander said. “Opportunities to work with a client like that, to find this type of property, don’t come about every day in our business.”
In part to celebrate the milestone sale, Tal and Oren accepted an invitation to spend five nights in Doha, the capital of Qatar, later this month. They’ll receive a tour of the country and meet consulate members and their families.
“I’m sure now that we’ve secured this property for the state of Qatar, if any other consulates are in the market, I think they can consider us,” Alexander said “Going through every single townhouse on the Upper East Side, our knowledge of that market is excellent, and if any other parties are interested in this, we have opportunities to present.”
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